Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The History of Montgomery Classis, R.C.A.
by W.N.P. Dailey,
Recorder Press, Amsterdam, NY 1916
To which is added sketches of Mohawk Valley men and events of early days, the Iroquois, Palatines, Indian Missions, Tryon County, committee of Safety, Sir Wm. Johnson, Joseph Brant, Arendt Van Curler, Gen. Herkimer, Reformed Church in America, Doctrine and Progress, Revolutionary Residences, Etc.


When Sir Wm. Johnson settled here in 1762 he called the place after his son, Johns-town. The old jail and Johnson Hall built at this time are well preserved buildings to this date. Under the extinct churches it will be noted that many efforts were made in other days to establish a Reformed Dutch church at Johnstown. Churches were organized a Kingsborough, Mayfield, Fondas Bush and other near by places. Here at Johnstown, tho preaching services were regularly conducted by the pastors at Fonda and Amsterdam (Ten Eyck and Van Horne), and an organization was incorporated under the title of the "Kingsborough Reformed Church," still the church of longest duration was the "True Reformed" or "Wyckofite" church which was begun in 1821 and ended in 1855. A church building, erected in 1838, is still standing an occasionally used by the Glen preacher. The present Reformed church of Johnstown, was organized in 1894. Rev. J. H. Enders, Synod Missionary and Rev. Wm. Schmitz of Fultonville conducted the initial services in the Fire Engine House near the Fair grounds in 1893. During the Summer of 1894 Rev. H. C. Willoughby gathered the nucleus of a church. On October 10, 1894, the organization was effected with seventeen members. Ground was secured and a Christian Endeavor church (No. 3) was erected. The dedication took place February 5, 1895. The first consistory was, Peter Fox, Wm. C. Van Alstyne, elders, and T. W. Van Slyke and Wm. Topp, deacons. The first pastor was Rev. John Van Burk who came to it from the dual pastorate of Clarksville and New Salem. After eight years Mr. Van Burk resigned to accept the pastorate of the Athens church, where he remained upwards of five years, going in 1910 to the Congregational church of Monterey, Mass. He is now supplying the Congregational church of Swanton, Vt. Succeeding Mr. Van Burk was Rev. Chas. V. W. Bedford who was ordained by the Montgomery Classis and came to the field in 1902, and remained thro 1909, going next to a three years stated supply of the Currytown-Sprakers field, and in 1912 taking up work at Hagaman where he is at present pastor. During this pastorate, in 1904, the Hillside Park chapel was bot and added to the rear of the church. Following Mr. Bedford came Rev. Peter S.. Beekman, who had already been a member of the Classis (Currytown, 1893-1901). Mr. Beekman began his work at Johnstown in 1909 and is the present pastor. In 1909 the present parsonage was built. In 1915 eighty-five members were received. The men of the consistory are V. J. Lasher, Nicholas Glenar, Frank Billington, and W. J. Sprakers, elders, and Henry Edwards, George Person, Fred J. Vosburgh and George Pedrick, deacons. In connection with the Johnstown work a Union work is kept up at Sammonsville. Formerly, especially in Rev. Boyd's day, the Fonda church looked after this work. This movement is a half century old and the services are held in the public school building. During a recent evangelistic campaign in Johnstown, eighty-five members were added to the roll.

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